BeeFREE. We transfer people to a remote site since 2016

8 min


We hope you read this post during working hours, already being transferred to remote work by your employer.

We managed to transfer employees to a remote location rather quickly for one simple reason – since 2016, BeeFREE has been in the company, our strategic project for remote work that allows an employee to work from home.

Under the cut – about how everything works for us, why the programs for monitoring the desktop of employees are a shot in the leg, why did we implement all this 4 years ago, as well as some tips for those for whom temporary remote work turned out to be a rather sudden event , including three traps udalenki.

And also a small survey.


BeeFREE was conceived as a project that beneficially affects both the corporate culture as a whole and the state (and mood) of an individual person. No matter how big the company may be, it always consists of people, each of whom has their own ideas about the beautiful and the environment, including the working environment, schedule, comfortable temperature for work, the (un) acceptability of heating fish in a shared kitchen and other things.

Someone likes to work in the office, communicate with colleagues personally and (yes, yes) participate in meetings. Someone is in solidarity with those for whom open space is one of the circles of hell in which it’s just a little noisier than in the rest. Still others are convinced that with a normally written letter with a clearly posed question, much more can be achieved than convening three meetings at different times for this. And often even faster.

In general, in 2016, it was decided to launch this as a pilot, and then see if it would take root at all, or if it should not be scaled. As an attentive reader has already understood, it has taken root quite successfully and continues to work.

So, how it works and what is needed for the employee to switch to BeeFREE.

  1. Discuss everything with the immediate supervisor, who, depending on the situation, will give the go-ahead or say why it is impossible. Suppose if a person has more or less shown that he is able to work independently and solve problems, then OK, let him try to do it at home. And if a person, on the contrary, becomes the clearest example of an employee who needs to be constantly watched, corrected, fixed something or reminded that you can (and should) hang out on social networks for three hours in your free time, then this is another story .

    Well, and, of course, a number of posts simply do not imply udalenka. It will be a little difficult to send a fiber optic installer to work from home. Of course, he will be able to mentally support colleagues in video communications, but this is a bit wrong. Or employees of communication salons. In general, this is pretty obvious – a specialist who works well on a laptop and performs all his duties on a computer can work just as well outside the office.

  2. Inform colleagues that you are not in the office on specific days. BeeFREE is flexible, and, for example, if during a conversation with the manager it was decided that you work from home for 3 days, and in the office, say, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (or Mondays and Fridays), it would be nice if your immediate colleagues knew about this and immediately wrote to you in the mail or chat rooms instead of looking for you all over the office.
  3. Once a week, coordinate with your manager your current tasks and prioritize. It sounds like a pretty banal thing, but it really helps to put emphasis and removes this strange managerial tension a la “So, what exactly does this guy do, at what stage?” There is a special todo-list for such an employee and manager in your personal account, but, as practice shows, the main thing is simply to agree. And who, where and how keeps a record of tasks and progress, is the second thing. The main thing is that it just was. And not only verbally.

The main principles – with such a remote location, we evaluate result, not a process. Roughly speaking, the worst thing that can be done in such a situation is to try to constantly monitor the employee, specifying what he is doing right now, whether he is busy with work or something else. In the wildest cases, employers sometimes ask to install special software for monitoring (read – surveillance) at the employee’s desktop. There is a strange opinion that this motivates the employee to always do business, and not something abstract.

In fact, this should motivate very well to go renew your resume and find a job without such excesses in terms of control.

Actually, that’s all. Next, we work as they worked, using the following.

Our toolkit

A number of corporate resources are available only from the internal network, so the problem of access to them is solved using VDI. To start using the benefits of remote, you need this.

  1. We make the necessary applications. Probably the only stage in one way or another connected with bureaucracy and formalities. But when you are a big company, it’s difficult in another way.
  2. After the execution of all these applications to the employee’s laptop (personal or work), VDI is installed, we use Horizon.
  3. For authentication of the user, the data of his account + the input of a unique token are used (responsible for this Gemalto, the application can be installed on a smartphone with Android / iOS).
  4. Corporate mail and calendar – Microsoft Outlook.

By the way, this is the entire list of required software, in terms of communications and task setting, we gave everything to the heads of areas and employees themselves. It’s more convenient for someone to communicate in Slack – please. There are not enough stickers to express emotions – there is always a Telegram. No one has canceled Whatsapp and skype.

Once a week, many units pass status. In a normal epidemiological situation, this was a big conversation with the air forces, because we had headquarters staff in Moscow, remote workers, guys from the region, and people from the regions, so this was in the format of “Personal Presence or Bluejeans”. Now all meetings and negotiations are held only remotely, Bluejeans or Zoom.

And more useful software for convenient remote work

It happens that the work of your company is tied to one vendor, or you just already use its products. Or, conversely, security policies in the company for a number of reasons prohibit the use of software for a particular company, which means that alternatives are needed.

Video conferencing

Zoom (free up to 100 participants and 40 minutes for one conference, then from $ 15 per month)
Bluejeans (up to 50 participants from $ 12 per month, then more)
Google Hangouts Meet (within GSuite, from $ 5.5 per month per user, up to 100 participants, 14 days of free trial)
Cisco WebEx Meetings
Microsoft teams (as part of Office 365)

Chats and knowledge bases

Slack – the product will soon be 7 years old, and during this time it has gained a bunch of useful integrations (Dropbox, Asana, Google Drive, etc.). From a simple working chatroom, Slack became a combine in which you can create a channel for each department in the company, exchange files, quickly connect the necessary bots, event monitoring, alerts for testers, in general, there are enough functions.

Notion – Helps to create convenient knowledge bases (howto, a young fighter’s course for onboarding new employees, convenient schedules, tasks with statuses, and, of course, notes).

Asana – perhaps a classic of the genre in terms of setting goals, deadlines, responsible, priorities and more. Many useful integrations.

Trello – for fans of boards and Atlassian.

About people

It would seem that everything is simple, you switched to a remote site and work from home. Of course, the advantages of the sea – do not waste time on the road to work (and nerves, too), saving on travel and gasoline and other amenities. But there are a number of dangers awaiting a person who has decided to step on this path. The most famous is associated with improper self-organization. Actually, all the others follow from it.

Trap # 1. Homemade

If you live not alone, but with a spouse, children or parents, or, even more dangerous, with a cat, then your udalenka at first will be perceived by them very unambiguously – cool, you’re at home, which means you can ask for anything. Go to the store, make tea, change the diaper, reprimand the cat for an unequal battle with the ficus, get out of the house, change the diaper again.

In general, even if you decide for yourself that you are equally responsible and selflessly working from home, then you will need to clearly inform your family that you are not just at home at the computer, you are working.

It helps to isolate yourself from such a reservation of a clear time when you can not be distracted. So that the family understands that from 10 to 18 (for example) you should not pester you with questions, distract, ask you to do something, since you are “at home all the same.”

Of course, you need to do this without extremes, and if you suddenly have 20 minutes left before the end of your work, and peripheral vision reports that the child still got out of the arena and went to explore the other room alone, then it’s better to get up and take action. Or if you wanted to go and walk for half an hour in a nearby park – you need to go and take a walk.

Trap # 2. Deceiving time

It may begin to seem that since you are sitting at home, the computer is at hand, the software is up and you are literally always now in one click from work, now you will have time for everything and you can relax and do everything three times slower.

In general, never. And that’s why.

Most likely, there will be more tasks. With a high degree of probability, the general and usual speed for your department will drop a little. Because working within a remote team for a year in a row and working remotely for two weeks are two very big differences. In general, life has been preparing someone for this for the last 20 or 30 years. And for some, such a sudden relaxon will not affect productivity very well.

Even if you, here you are, yes, switch very quickly, responsibly and will always be in touch, closing your tasks twice as fast, there will always be someone who will slow down the work. Either someone’s repair, the lights were turned off, or the neighbor with the hammer drill realized that the time had come. And now any videoconference is a collective session of philanthropy.

In general, we do not call to push ourselves into very tight limits and immediately respond to any incoming message, but keep in mind – the first stage of transferring a team that is new to it, to a remote site, will be associated with a little inhibition.

Trap # 3. Lack of control

As we wrote above, the worst thing an employer can do is turn on a guard and try to keep abreast of your every step: at what stage is the task, why didn’t everyone put in a copy of the letter, how much time you spent today at the computer, what brand of drill Neighbor, why do you have such strange wallpapers on your desktop and so on.

The main thing here is not to start thinking that since you are out of the office, it all abruptly makes no difference where you are and what you are doing. That all your tasks fit in a daddy without deadlines for guidance, and indeed that you don’t need to do them.

The most important control for the remoter is self-control. Nobody knows better than you what time you work best. Maybe in your case it’s cooler and more useful to hammer in to work and watch TV shows until 15.00, and from 16.00 to midnight your productivity is beyond praise, and you will do as much as an office fan in three in a day. An office system with open space and ignoring the rhythms of people is not able to understand this.

The udalenka is at the same time an opportunity for the employer to conclude how well you work when you are sitting at home, and an opportunity for you to prove by deed that people can actually do cool things not only from 10 to 18, and if you haven’t done anything until noon, it only means that you did nothing before noon.

And one more thing

Over the years, we at Beeline have tested BeeFREE perfectly, collected a lot of feedback from both employees and their leaders, made conclusions, made a couple of fixes and continue to actively use the approach now.

Now we are actively helping other companies to include BeeFREE at home. Both in terms of hardware and software, and tips. For example, we will help you quickly deploy VDI for tasks of any profile, whether your guys work with everyday tasks or will it be 3D modeling on a remote site. We have solutions for audio and video conferencing, more about BeeFREE: WorkPlace-as-a-Service can be read on this page.

And here is a detailed webinar on organizing remote work from Olga Filatova (Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Organizational Development and Support) and Alina Dragun, (Beeline Organizational Development Manager, Curator of the BeeFREE project).


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